Every day the media reports stories of drug seizures, busts and border control incidents, and the figures often seem huge, but overall the numbers are even more immense.
A frightening overall total for a year was released in a report from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) who have reported a record 30.6 tonnes of illicit drugs seized in Australia in 2017–18.
The report was part of the sixteenth edition of the Illicit Drug Data Report which said that of the 30.6 tonnes, methylamphetamine remained one of the most consumed and seized illicit drugs in Australia.
Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Chief Executive Officer, Mr Michael Phelan APM said serious and organised criminals are at the centre of Australia’s illicit drug market, motivated by greed, power and profit.
‘The estimated street value of the weight of amphetamines, MDMA, cocaine and heroin seized nationally in 2017–18 is nearly $5 billion, underlining the size of the black economy that relates to illicit drugs alone,’ said Mr Phelan.
‘We know serious and organised crime groups continue to generate significant profits from the sale of illicit substances, with the price paid for illicit drugs in Australia among the highest in the world.’
This report combines illicit drug data from a variety of sources including law enforcement, forensic services, health and academia which inform our understanding and assist in focusing our collective efforts to respond to the issue of illicit drugs.
Other records reported in 2017–18 include 5,096 national cocaine seizures, 4,325 national cocaine arrests, 22 clandestine laboratories detected nationally producing GHB/GBL, 17,383 cannabis detections and 4,912 kilograms of ATS (excluding MDMA) precursors detected at the Australian border.
Mr Phelan said that illicit drug use cannot be addressed by law enforcement alone. ‘A multi-faceted approach is needed,’ he said. ‘The risk and harm posed by illicit drugs to the Australian community is ever-growing, which underscores the need for law enforcement and health agencies to work collaboratively to combat both the supply and demand for illicit drugs in Australia.’
The Illicit Drug Data Report 2017–18 is available at www.acic.gov.au.